Fabric is freshwater-intensive. These students have a saltwater alternative

Producing fabrics often relies heavily on scarce freshwater. In fact, just one kilogram of cotton requires as much as 20,000 liters of freshwater to be made. To tackle the overconsumption of freshwater by the fashion industry, students from the Royal College of Art have created an alternative fabric made from plants grown in abundant seawater. As compared to cotton, this material requires no freshwater and could help usher in a standard in a sustainable fashion.

Thus far, the students, who have formed a startup called SaltyCo, have created a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric and a technical stuffing using the plant. SaltyCo can’t reveal too much about the plant itself in order to protect its product, but the startup says the stuffing material is the closest to being market-ready, and SaltyCo has already showcased it as part of a jacket. Ellis-Brown says it is warm, lightweight and hydrophobic, making it suitable for insulating jackets. They have also showcased their non-woven fabric in a few forms, and seen it being used for accessories or faux leathers.

The woven fabric on the other hand requires the most further development, but if done right, it would have similar properties to linen or cotton, which would have major environmental implications for the fashion industry. For now, it’s just encouraging to see alternatives to freshwater-intensive fabrics.

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Fabric is freshwater-intensive. These students have a saltwater alternative

Producing fabrics often relies heavily on scarce freshwater. In fact, just one kilogram of cotton requires as much as 20,000 liters of freshwater to be made. To tackle the overconsumption of freshwater by the fashion industry, students from the Royal College of Art have created an alternative fabric made from plants grown in abundant seawater. As compared to cotton, this material requires no freshwater and could help usher in a standard in a sustainable fashion.

Thus far, the students, who have formed a startup called SaltyCo, have created a woven fabric, a non-woven fabric and a technical stuffing using the plant. SaltyCo can’t reveal too much about the plant itself in order to protect its product, but the startup says the stuffing material is the closest to being market-ready, and SaltyCo has already showcased it as part of a jacket. Ellis-Brown says it is warm, lightweight and hydrophobic, making it suitable for insulating jackets. They have also showcased their non-woven fabric in a few forms, and seen it being used for accessories or faux leathers.

The woven fabric on the other hand requires the most further development, but if done right, it would have similar properties to linen or cotton, which would have major environmental implications for the fashion industry. For now, it’s just encouraging to see alternatives to freshwater-intensive fabrics.

Solution News Source

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